Masanori Handa

Masanori Handa

The protégé

Published in 2009

“Art for me is a means of survival,” says Masanori Handa, 29, one of Japan's fastest-rising contemporary artists.

Handa's creativity was awakened at age 19 when he travelled to India and “felt the universe in every object”.

Upon obtaining his B.A. in design from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music in 2003, Handa began executing large-scale projects that connect apparently far-fetched things in a dynamic way. In 2005, his debut solo exhibition, White Beach-Green Pine/Nuclear Plant-Gourds, at Tokyo's Kodama Gallery, consisted of a gourd-shaped bathtub placed underneath a canopy of gourd vines. The steam from the bath, enhanced by people bathing, caused the vines to wither.

His main exhibition during the mentoring year was held in late 2008, also at Kodama Gallery. The brightly coloured shapes appear to be a radical change from his previous works. However, like his previous creations, the exhibition squeezes many objects into an unusual spatial configuration, creating dazzling beauty, but with an underlying tension. Handa describes it as an attempt to present “feelings” as “objects”.